Nov 10, 2009
Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers were in a state of flux in late 1959. Bobby Timoons, the piano player who wrote the iconic "Moanin'" for their 1958 release had left the band to go on the road with Cannonball Adderly. Benny Golson was also gone, after having contributed "Along Came Betty" to the Moanin' album. Replacing him was the 25 year old Wayne Shorter, who had been making a name for himself in Maynard Fergusons band.
Blakey brought Shorter, trumpeters Lee Morgan and Dizzy Reece and bassist Jymie Merritt to Rudy Van Gelder Studio, in Englewood Cliffs, NJ, fifty years ago today. Behind the ivories was Walter David, Jr. who was fresh from a truimph in Donald Byrd's group in a series of shows in France.
Davis stayed only briefly with the Jazz Messengers, replaced by Timmons and Cedar Walton through the mid-sixties glory days of the band. Davis woudl retire briefly during this time to work as a tailor, before returning for a series of albums with Sonny Rollins in the 1970's.
Click here to listen to the title track of the album, "Africaine". That's Reece playing congas on the track, working clsoely with the indominatble Blakey as a pair of percussionists.